Bill: We made a stop at Nueske’s last weekend as as part of a “fall color” drive. Nueske’s sells fantastic applewood smoked meat products. One of the items we bought was smoked pork chops. They were huge and we enjoyed them the first night cooked up on the grill. I decided to use the leftovers to make an egg scramble for supper. I started by cooking 2 large red potatoes diced up along with 1/2 an onion in a little canola oil. When it cooked down and browned, I added the left over smoked pork chop also diced up. Once that warmed up, we added 5 eggs and started scrambling. The end result was a great evening meal which definitely qualified as comfort food. Very tasty.
Bill: I went to Christensen’s Apple Orchard recently near Waupaca. I bought 2 pecks of Honey Crisp for fresh eating. If you put them in zip lock bags in the refrigerator, they keep really fresh for several months. I also bought Cortlands to make applesauce. I used a really simple recipe for the crock pot. I used 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup white sugar. The applesauce was tasty, but it turns out Cortlands are a little too firm so the sauce was very chunky. I made a second batch of applesauce today using Mcintosh apples. It tasted great. Nothing better than warm applesauce topped with a little vanilla ice cream.
Matthew: This weekend, I was inspired by my neighborhood bakery, Bloom Bake Shop, which specializes in cupcakes and whoopie pies made with seasonal, local ingredients. I had an amazing spiced apple whoopie pie with cream cheese filling last week and noticed that they had also added pumpkin as a fall flavor. I thought I could try to replicate this at home using a CSA pumpkin I got this week. I cut the pumpkin in half, seeded it (the seeds are now toasted with smoked paprika!), and roasted it in the oven. Since I don’t have a food processor, I had to be a little creative with my pureeing method. I used this recipe for pumpkin cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen. Instead of adding the ingredients in the order listed, I pureed the pumpkin with the eggs and buttermilk in the blender and then added that mixture alternating with the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Then, following a recipe that my coworker, Beth, gave to me for whoopie pies, I used a ziplock bag to pipe the batter onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet and baked for ~10 minutes at 350. For the filling, I used the cream cheese and maple syrup frosting recipe that went along with the cupcakes. The cakes were a bit sticky which made filling them a bit tricky, but the end result was good and REALLY delicious!
Katie: I’ve been busy cooking lots of different things this weekend and last weekend for Flori’s birthday. We were busy trying to accommodate our guests, so we didn’t get too many pictures, but here’s of glimpse of what I made:
For Flori’s family, I made Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake and Festive Apple Galette. They were nice seasonal choices and both tasted really good. I had originally considered only making one dessert, but we only had a few pieces of the pumpkin dessert left over, so I’m glad I made both!
For the party with Flori’s friends, I served:
- Roasted Vegetable Soup (not pictured; Mom’s recipe)
- Chewy Italian Bread (a nice accompaniment to the soup)
- Vegetables with Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Dip
- Grapes (seedless!)
- Tomato-Mozzarella Skewers (Flori’s contribution)
- Apple slices (brushed with lemon water to keep from browning) with Pumpkin Dip (not pictured; a very yummy dip with pumpkin puree, cream cheese, and a little maple syrup)
- Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta (very delicious and could be prepared ahead of time and put in the oven right before serving)
- Mini Pumpkin Muffins (adapted from this recipe, but with part whole wheat flour and brown sugar)
- Cinnamon-Spiced Date Cookies (which I’ve made for Christmas before, but was a good sweet treat for the party)
It was a lot of preparation, but everyone seemed to like the food and had a good time at the party.
Matthew: I’ve been eating a LOT of tomatoes lately and have tried to change things up so that I don’t get tired of them. So far I’ve roasted them, made caprese salad, eaten them with homemade pesto, and put them in salads. I was inspired to try tomato pesto by seeing this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I decided that I wanted the tomatoes to be cooked in my pesto, and to avoid them being too watery, I decided to sun dry them. I halved, seeded, sliced, and salted about 8 roma tomatoes and put them in the oven for ~2 hours at 200 degrees. They weren’t completely dehydrated by the time I pulled them out, but I thought it would be good enough. I then toasted some almonds and combined them in the blender with the tomatoes, a good amount of olive oil, and some parmesan cheese. The resulting pesto was a nice salmon color. Then, to complete my meal, I tossed some cooked pappardelle with the pesto and some roasted green beans, red bell pepper, and onion. The final product was outstanding. The sun dried tomatoes added an intense and complex flavor which paired well with the nuttiness of the almonds, the salty parmesan, and the smooth olive oil. Definitely a do-over!
Katie: Although it may still be summer in other parts of the world, it definitely feels like fall here. Along with cooler temperatures, I’ve been noticing fall decorations and lots of pumpkins at the farmers market. I bought a spaghetti squash from the market last week, and found this recipe for Spaghetti Squash Gratin with Chunky Tomato Sauce. Instead of making it in individual ramekins, I cooked it in a glass casserole dish. I also substituted cottage cheese for ricotta, and blended it to make the texture more similar to the original recipe. It took awhile until it was finished, but it was worth the wait! The fresh thyme and oregano really added to the flavor. I served it with Chewy Italian Bread, which also turned out well. I cut the bread recipe in half, and still ended up with a large loaf.
jillpickle: I needed a vegetable side dish for a dinner party so I found this on the Food Network website. It sounded perfect for our meal- fresh vegetables and not too much fuss! I liked the way the corn was cooked, soaked in water and roasted in the oven, husks on! This dish was really tasty and it had the interesting combination of fresh mozzarella cheese and avocado making this creamy and the basil and lemon which brightened up and enhanced the other ingredients. I did leave out the parsley but added chives. (My garden parsley went missing!!!) I would definitely make this again!